Based originally on a description in a story by Andy Looney, the game of Icehouse was a board game without a board, played in real time without turns with a set of colored pyramids in three sizes. It still has its fans, and you can find some pretty detailed fan stuff out there on the internet regarding the game of Icehouse. Over the years, though, people found ways to use such enticingly generic game pieces for far, far more… [more inside]
Were you thinking of buying a board game for someone this holiday season? Snakes and Lattes would like to help you pick just the right one.
"the [UCLA Game Lab] fosters research and development in not only computer or video games, but also physical, tabletop, and other game forms. Known for its annual Game Art Festival at the Hammer Museum in Westwood, California, the lab supports the production and exhibition of student work, but it also curates and promotes vanguard game design from around the world. Through its tripartite mission to push the envelope of game aesthetics, game context, and game genres, the lab nurtures game projects that often adapt contentious, controversial subjects not found (overtly, anyway) in many commercial games: issues of politics, gender and identity, industry and commerce, the environment, experiences of alterity, the silly and the surreal…. In short, all that composes lived experience becomes fair game, so to speak, for adaptation.." -- Playfully Subversive: the Many Roles of Adaptation in Making Games at the UCLA Game Lab by David O'Grady [more inside]
AC Stuart illustrates your D&D stories. The artist AKA Noob the Loser (previously) is doing a series of comics based on YOUR ridiculous tabletop RPG stories. Warning: distinct lack of tastefulness. (I mean, it's really nothing compared to an actual gaming session, in my experience, but ... )
Want to play Warhammer Fantasy Battle? Not possesed of a Scrroge McDuck style moneypit or willing to sell organs in order to buy figures? Kieron Gillen and Matthew Sheret are here to help with Hipsterhammer. Jump in with guides to building Dwarf, Empire or Vampire Count armies on the cheap! Doubles as a bit of a guide to the weirdo world of Warhammer Fantasy, as distinct from your more generic Tolkienesque efforts. They even have a manifesto!
A short history of gaming in Brazil: "To understand the history of gaming in Brazil dear reader, you must know a little bit about our political and economic history ... In 1991, a small publisher by the name of GSA published a roleplaying game called Tagmar [translation], often lauded as the first Brazilian RPG. ... They also released Desafio dos Bandeirantes, a game set in 17th century colonial Brazil using regional folklore instead of European myths, and a sci-fi game, Millenia [translation] ... In February 1994, the Brazilian authorities set in motion a major economic plan that invigorated the Brazilian economy for the first time since 1973. By March, the currency stabilized enough to assure the population (and companies) that their money would be worth the same by the end of the week ... The happy result for gamers was that companies started buying game licenses right and left." Via. See also History of Brazilian RPGs, History of Brazilian RPG magazines, Role-playing games in education in Brazil: how we do it [PDF], and President Cardoso reflects on Brazil and sociology.
Monster Pamphlets. Monsters for all your tabletop RPG needs. [slTumblr]
Wil Wheaton has a Youtube channel called "Tabletop" where he posts videos of himself with three guests playing various board games. Originally he thought the audience was going to be exclusively adults, but it turned out that a lot of people were watching the show with their kids. So in this week's episode, the game is Catan Junior, a cut-down version of Settlers of Catan intended for kids, and Wheaton's three guests are all 9 years old. Please enjoy Catan Junior.
"In 1972 I created the concept of Mazes & Minotaurs, the world's first roleplaying game. Inspired by my fanatical interest in ancient Greek and Macedonian wargaming, coupled with a love of Greek myth and the 1963 movie, Jason and the Argonauts, it took the gaming world by storm." -- Paul Elliott. [more inside]
Tabletop Simulator is a, well, simulator for tabletop gaming. The trailer shows a number of applications: classics like chess and chinese checkers, RPG campaigns, and games using a standard deck of playing cards. And if you're looking for something with less structure you can set up domino chains. The game supports net-play with friends (video has a bit of cursing), with the option of flipping the table if the game isn't going your way. [more inside]
You don’t sit down to write a game and “add fun” or “make fun.” You make things. You design encounters. You plan plot points. You build NPCs. And you also put together and run campaigns. You hope that somehow, out of the campaigns and the decisions and encounters and plot points and NPCs, fun is a thing that will happen. But you don’t actually try to quantify fun. You don’t think about why fun things are fun. Until today.In The Eight Kinds of Fun The Angry DM explores the nature of fun in tabletop roleplaying games, guided by scholarly research on the subject.
Does the world really need another “fantasy role- playing game”? Why take yet another try at improving those old-school adventure rules? Good questions. People who run such games and write about them online tend to kit-build their own rules. On these grounds I decided to present my own game notes in modular form, that people could choose from and use.52 Pages 1.0 (PDF) by Roger the GS. [via]
Playing at the World is a blog about the early days of tabletop RPGs. Select articles include "How Gaming Got Its Dice" (and the followup "The Origins of Dice Notation,") "The Early Works of Gary Gygax, " "A Playtesting Edition of Dungeons & Dragons (1973)" (and the followup "The Dalluhn Manuscript: In Detail and On Display") and "Character Sheets in 1975."
"This [129 question] survey will determine your ability scores, fantasy race, class, alignment, and character level describing what you would be if you were transformed into a Dungeons and Dragons character."
Nill Kamui is an independent island caught in a power struggle between the forces of Donatia, the land of Knights and the Church, and Koran, an empire of secrets and the immortal empress Ghost Mother. When the Red Dragon, the ancient protector of the island, goes berserk and starts killing for no reason, a desperate plan is hatched: a team of representatives from each of the three powers is given a mission to find why the Red Dragon went mad and stop him by any means necessary. Red Dragon is a tabletop RPG campaign with its own trailer, and that's not all. [more inside]
Realm of Chaos 80s - an 80s Games Workshop blog.
The Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment (FATE) system has produced notable games ranging from the pulp themed Spirit of the Century, to the hard science fiction Diaspora, to the adaptation of the urban fantasy series Dresdin Files, and the high fantasy Legends of Anglierre. However, there's never been a basic, official version of the 3rd. edition core system. Until now. [more inside]
Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff, a podcast in which writer and game designer Robin D. Laws (Hamlet's Hitpoints, The GUMSHOE system) and game designer and writer Kenneth Hite (Tour De Lovecraft, GURPS Horror) (previously) talk about stuff. Stuffs include: Why vampires are assholes and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, stopping WWI and Beasts of the Southern Wild, Margaret Atwood and the difference between a mystic and an occultist, why no invented setting is as interesting as the real world and Woodrow Wilson, Gencon and sundry RPGs, Neil Armstrong, HP Blavatsky and theosophy, the ebook prcing settlement, what big publishing could learn from RPG publishers, and the many crazy fictional possibilities of Charles Lindbergh and his UFO investigating chums, and Dungeons and Dragons edition wars and Aliester Crowley.
TableTop’s Fiasco episodes may be the greatest roleplaying documentary made to date. ... Not only are the two episodes it takes to show their session a joy to watch (and they are a pleasure) but they succeed in something that is really difficult to do: capture the essence of a game session. (previously) [more inside]
An Illustrated History of Games Workshop and Fighting Fantasy - Jackson and Livingstone - audio, sans illustrations. The story of how Steve Jackson (not that Steve Jackson) and Ian Livingstone kickstarted tabletop roleplaying in the UK and founded a gaming behemoth that is very different today.
"With 4th Edition, there were good intentions." Escapist Magazine's "Check for Traps" columnist Alexander Macris interviews Dungeons & Dragons Manager Mike Mearls about 4th Edition Essentials, Ryan Dancey's "death spiral" comment, Justin Alexander's "Disassociated Mechanics", and the new Red Box.
"The impression that Ars Magica requires a Ph.d in medieval history to play was not helped by several supplements for the fourth edition that were in fact written by Ph.d’s in medieval history." Don't let that stop you, though; you can download the fourth edition for free. [more inside]
I have been working on and off for about 2 years building our "D&D ROOM" to hold most of our collection and give us a cool place to play...
Most gamers have never heard of Braunstein. Sad but true. In the hierarchy of self-awareness you’ll find the circle of gamers who know what D&D is (a very, very large circle), then inside of that is the circle of gamers who know what Greyhawk is (large but smaller), and inside that the circle who knows what Blackmoor is (smaller still). And then in the very center, vanishingly small, are the people who’ve heard of Braunstein. Which is a pity, because Braunstein is the granddaddy of them all.Braunstein: the Roots of Roleplaying Games by Ben Robbins. The first role-playing game was run by soldier David Wesely in 1967, his group including none other than D&D co-creator Dave Arneson. This past GenCon Braunstein was revived! Here's what the players had to say. Handouts from an earlier Braunstein revival. David Wesely's post-game comments. [via Rob McDougall] [more inside]
Delta Green - be part of the conspiracy. The latest sourcebook for Delta Green, the cult modern day Call of Cthulhu setting, is being financed via fundable. If the target for funding is not met it’s release will be delayed... if it is released at all. A niche setting within a niche system in a hobby in decline, Delta Green is still intensely well loved by those who know about it, making them a good target for the ransom model. Will thinking outside the usual publishing business models save pen and paper RPGs?